Different models of political sovereignty affected the relationship among states and between states and individuals.
- In much of Europe, absolute monarchy was established over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Challenges to absolutism resulted in alternative political systems.
- After 1648, dynastic and state interests, along with Europe’s expanding colonial empires, influenced the diplomacy of European states and frequently led to war.
- The French Revolution posed a fundamental challenge to Europe’s existing political and social order.
- Claiming to defend the ideals of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte imposed French control over much of the European continent that eventually provoked a nationalistic reaction
The expansion of European commerce accelerated the growth of a worldwide economic network.
- Early modern Europe developed a market economy that provided the foundation for its global role.
- The European-dominated worldwide economic network contributed to the agricultural, industrial, and consumer revolutions in Europe.
- Commercial rivalries influenced diplomacy and warfare among European states in the early modern era.
The popularization and dissemination of the Scientific Revolution and the application of its methods to political, social, and ethical issues led to an increased, although not unchallenged, emphasis on reason in European culture.
- Rational and empirical thought challenged traditional values and ideas.
- New public venues and print media popularized Enlightenment ideas.
- New political and economic theories challenged absolutism and mercantilism.
- During the Enlightenment, the rational analysis of religious practices led to natural religion and the demand for religious toleration.
- The arts moved from the celebration of religious themes and royal power to an emphasis on private life and the public good.
- While Enlightenment values dominated the world of European ideas, they were challenged by the revival of public sentiment and feeling.
The experiences of everyday life were shaped by demographic, environmental, medical, and technological changes.
- In the 17th century, small landholdings, low-productivity agricultural practices, poor transportation, and adverse weather limited and disrupted the food supply, causing periodic famines. By the 18th century, Europeans began to escape from the Malthusian imbalance between population and the food supply, resulting in steady population growth.
- The consumer revolution of the 18th century was shaped by a new concern for privacy, encouraged the purchase of new goods for homes, and created new venues for leisure activities.
- By the 18th century, family and private life reflected new demographic patterns and the effects of the Commercial Revolution
- Cities offered economic opportunities, which attracted increasing migration from rural areas, transforming urban life and creating challenges for the new urbanites and their families.